features an interview with AGA’s new president and CEO, Dave McCurdy, who joined AGA after serving for four years as president and CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (Alliance). Prior to his work at the Alliance, McCurdy served for eight years as president and CEO of the Electronic Industries Alliance (EIA). He also spent 14 years in the House of Representatives as the Member from the Fourth Congressional District of Oklahoma. A proud “Sooner”—“I grew up in the Oklahoma oil and gas patch”—McCurdy is a 1972 graduate of the University of Oklahoma and received his J.D. in 1975 from Oklahoma Law School. McCurdy and his wife, Dr. Pam McCurdy, a physician specializing in child psychiatry, live in McLean, VA. They have three grown children, Josh, Cydney and Shannon and two sons-in-law.
Excerpts from that American Gas interview, edited for space and clarity, will appear at True Blue Natural Gas throughout March. The entire interview can be read at aga.org.
AMERICAN GAS: You come to AGA from two big associations—the Electronic Industries Alliance and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. Why AGA?
McCURDY: That’s an interesting question. It was an honor to serve and represent two major global industries. I really enjoyed leading both associations. I have always been a proponent of American innovation and at EIA we represented the entire field of electronics, from semi-conductors to consumer electronics, to telecom, to aerospace—the full spectrum, and it was a global spectrum. In that role, I spent a lot of time in Asia, especially China. I even learned enough Mandarin to give a short speech, and I spent a lot of time focusing on our national innovation and economic competitiveness.
As for the automobile association, I was recruited by the auto sector at the end of 2006. I met with the CEOs of Ford Motor, GM, Chrysler, Toyota, BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz, and was impressed with their commitment to sustainable energy policies, sustainable transportation and the need to change their approach to interfacing with the government. And I was also asked the question, “Why go from high tech to autos?” Well, in fact, 30 percent of the content of automobiles is electronics, and that’s increasing, so it’s very high tech. But it also gave me the opportunity to work on two of my passions—energy and the environment and safety issues.
In addition, I strongly believe that we need a domestic manufacturing base in America, which is critical to job creation, our long-term economic and national security. And even though none of us in 2006 anticipated the collapse of our financial system, the Great Recession and the bankruptcies of major automakers, we were able to keep our focus on our priority issues. We developed our vision, we reached out to new stakeholders and achieved our priority goals, which included a single national standard for fuel economy and greenhouse gases, and consensus solutions on the safety front.
So in terms of the switch to AGA, I was at a good point. We were coming off some major successes and when I was approached about possibly joining AGA, I saw it as an opportunity to achieve a viable—a sustainable—domestic energy and environmental policy.